Police: Little girl, 7, takes over driving when dad overdoses behind the wheel

A quick thinking 7-year-old girl likely saved her unconscious father’s life when she took over the wheel on Friday in New York, catching the attention of first responders.

New York Daily News reports that Eric Roman, 37, was driving a Lexus with his daughter in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon, when he reportedly passed out from an opioid overdose. Two FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians spotted a young child steering the wheel on Ocean Avenue, headed toward the Belt Parkway during rush hour.

“We turned with the car and saw this little girl behind the wheel,” said first responder Arlene Garcia. “There’s no way her feet could reach the pedals. We were turning with her, telling her to pull over, waving our arms wildly at her, but she wasn’t pulling over.”

The girl, scared, held onto the wheel and kept going. Garcia said the car was going slow and they managed to maneuver their own vehicle in front of it.

“We said to ourselves, ‘How do you stop her?’ So we pulled right in front of her with the ambulance and that’s how we stopped it?”

The Lexus bumper hit the back of the EMT vehicle, forcing it to stop. The workers immediately got out and rushed over. They found Roman unconscious in the driver’s seat, and the little girl explained that her dad “fell asleep” and she took over the wheel. The child said she was in the back seat, but quickly unbuckled her seatbelt, jumped in the front seat and took over.

First responders revived Roman with Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids. He was taken to a Brooklyn hospital for treatment. The little girl was uninjured.

Police later charged Roman with driving while impaired by drugs, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and reckless endangerment.